parent opinion

‘As a mum of two cricket-mad boys, the latest Bluey episode is my dream. Here's why.’

I am a mum of two cricket-mad boys, and with the Ashes in full swing, it's peak cricket season at our house. 

As a non-cricket-loving Englishwoman, it's also a pretty unique time when my kids and my parents (living in the UK) become mortal enemies and I have to 'pick sides' or at the very least feign interest in who just got out for a 'golden duck'. 

While I'll always support my kids' interests, and would much rather listen to them talk animatedly about the best Aussie cricketers over their current gaming obsession (YAWN), I knew that the latest Bluey episode titled 'Cricket' would be much more my thing.

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Video via ABC.

After hearing so much about the episode from my mum-friends and seeing the reactions to it online, I got my 12- and six-year-old to sit down with me and watch. 

The episode follows fan favourite and friend of Bluey, cricket-loving Rusty, and his family. It starts with Bandit telling the tale of how one summer's day, during a backyard game of cricket, no one could get Rusty out.

Bluey says: “Cricket’s just about hitting a ball around the grass”, but like every cricket fan ever, Bandit responds with: “Cricket’s about more than that, kid.”


I might be with Bluey on this one, but I decide to reserve judgement and learn from the blue heelers instead.

We get to see how young Rusty became cricket obsessed. He plays in the backyard with his older brother Digger and little sister Dusty. It reminds me very much of my two boys who spent all summer under our back deck smashing cricket balls into our now very dented laundry door.

Even when Rusty is not playing nicely with his siblings, he is single-mindedly practising his 'square cut' batting technique alone against the side of his house. 

Later we see a flashback to Rusty taking on a bigger challenge by bravely facing up to a real cricket ball in a game with big kids. He gets hit, and he feels scared, but he keeps trying and gets a lesson from his dad who says: "In life, you'll face challenges much harder than a cricket ball".

Wise words indeed. 

When the increasingly frustrated pace bowler Pat (usually known as 'Lucky's dad') tries to get Rusty out, Rusty hits it for six. It's clear that Rusty is a future cricketing legend.

When lunchtime comes around, the dads (and I'm disappointed it is only the dads playing the kids, as I know many Aussie women who can bowl a good one) decide they all need a break. 

With just one bowl from Pat left, sweet Rusty hits it gently toward his sister Dusty who takes the catch and has the glory of getting Rusty out. 

Like the knackered doggy dads on my screen, I look at Rusty with awe and misty eyes, while my six-year-old who has clearly missed the life lesson, yells at the TV that he could have easily taken that catch. 


Bandit ends the episode by explaining to Bluey that, "This is what cricket is about kid!", as we see little Rusty walking off to lunch, bat in hand, and then fist bumping who we can only assume is himself as an adult playing for Australia in his baggy green cap.

While I get emotional at this beautiful episode that perfectly encapsulates what fair play, bravery and chasing your dreams all look like, my kids just look bemused.

And that's because we all know that the real world of parenting sports-mad kids is quite different.

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While I loved the episode's underlying themes, this is not how we experience cricket at my place: It's usually epic brotherly warfare.

My cricket-mad two have both done their recent school speeches on favourite cricketers and lessons learnt from watching and playing the sport. 

They follow it obsessively on YouTube and play virtual versions of it on their devices. They play in actual teams, with friends, at the beach, the park and of course with each other in the yard, which is where the similarity between them, and Dusty and Rusty ends.

Maybe we just don't get to see all the times Rusty, Dusty and Digger have all-out brawls over an LBW appeal (do I sound like I know what I mean here?!) like my two. Or maybe not.


Backyard cricket to me is not nostalgia, gentle clapping and sweet moments of sibling kindness like it is in Bluey. 

In fact, at various times we have had to ban them from playing cricket at home or risk the neighbours never speaking with us again. 

Currently, we have settled on a cricket ball on a string that they can take turns hitting and my brave husband will take them both to the local nets at weekends if they want to play together. 

Occasionally there are good 'sportsmanlike' interactions between my boys, and when they happen my heart literally explodes with pride. I know they can do it but I find managing their fierce competitiveness to be one of THE hardest parts of parenting.

My emotion at watching the Bluey episode was not just about the sweet storytelling, but because I wish my boys, who are both beautiful humans, could play better together and be less worried about outperforming each other. 

More Rusty and Dusty moments with fewer scenes from Fight Club would be wonderful.

Keeping scores in our backyard. Image: Supplied.


I am actually relieved it is now winter and the cricket ball on the string has mostly been untouched in favour of fervent soccer practice or basketball.

It's a short seasonal relief, however, as the Ashes and maybe even this Bluey episode will probably spark a backyard cricket frenzy. I will need to practise some deep breathing and maybe also take some time to chat more with my boys about the kindness that Rusty shows Dusty. 

And maybe one day I will look back at their childhoods of all those summer cricket sounds (and screams) with misty-eyed nostalgia as I clap from a VIP box in the SCG, champagne in hand, watching my boys do their thing in their baggy green caps. 

Well, a mum can dream too.

Laura Jackel is Mamamia's Family Writer. For links to her articles and to see photos of her outfits and kids, follow her on Instagram and TikTok.

Feature Image: Supplied/ Instagram @officialblueytv / Canva